Vermont’s  second-largest city is tucked into the valley between the Green Mountains  and the Taconic Range, gracing it with a scenic horizon of purple peaks in whichever direction you look. Unfortunately, Rutland’s downtown isn’t quite so scenic. The city’s brief Golden Age occurred in the mid-19th century with the exploitation of the milky-white marble deposits found along the Taconics from Manchester  to Middlebury .
The marble, in demand in civic buildings in New York City , Washington, and other cities around the world, quickly made Rutland very rich indeed. Its downtown known as Merchant’s Row became one of the busiest commercial streets in the country, and Victorian houses of the marble barons sprang up on the hills around town. Rutland also became an early example of multiculturalism, as Italian, Irish, and French-Canadian workers poured into the region to work in the quarries.
The city slowly declined after the Civil War and other sources of marble became available; the last quarries closed sadly in the mid-1990s, costing the city many jobs. Since then, it has struggled to reinvent itself as a tourist destination, touting the nearby ski resorts, the grand historic buildings downtown area (many of them, not surprisingly, built with native marble), and a number of tourist attractions scattered throughout the valley.